Women of Courage: Josie’s story

By Carla McRee

Each month, we like to highlight a woman from Shepherd’s Gate who is turning her life around for good with God’s help. This month’s Woman of Courage is Josie — one of our October 2009 program graduates.

Josie searched online for information about a California women’s shelter and recovery program because she had hit rock bottom and wanted a new start. Little by little, alcohol and depression had completely taken over her life following a heartbreaking divorce and loss of her home, and she wasn’t able to function well enough to even care for her kids. She was sleeping in her car at night to avoid driving drunk. Josie tried many times to get sober, but each time life got to be too much, she’d go right back to the alcohol to numb her pain. “I noticed the destruction but did nothing about it but drink and put myself in unhealthy places just to be near my drug. I lost everything.” So she looked up Shepherd’s Gate and began to call. “When I walked in the front doors of Shepherd’s Gate I sensed a feeling of relief like I’m safe now. I felt stronger, encouraged, and determined to work on myself.” She came to Shepherd’s Gate to get sober, but Josie found much more here: she discovered how much God loves her. She’d never been to church as a young child, but now she finds new strength in the love and grace of Jesus. “Believing in the Lord gave me something to live for. Every day that goes by, living at Shepherd’s Gate, I’m feeling the Lord in my heart more and more which gives me the best warm feeling I have ever had. I don’t think about the bad stuff that happened to me the same way I used to if I even think about it at all.” “I am encouraged to move one day at a time knowing I am not alone, going through this journey of recovery . . . a new life.” I never get tired of hearing stories like Josie’s, because they are such a clear picture of God’s love for His children . . . He never gives up on us. Today, I ask you to keep Josie and other women like her in your prayers. It takes a lot of strength to overcome their addictions and find freedom, but we know through Christ all things are possible! Feel free to leave Scripture verses of encouragement for the precious women who are in our program . . . we’ll share with those here as a reminder that they have others praying for them on their journey.

Carla McRee Associate Director, Shepherd’s Gate

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